The Christmas parade came and went, and Tom cornered a couple of kids after to see if the Christmas decorations he had 'improved' on mainstreet had made any difference.
"The were okay" said one boy.But what happened to the cowboy hat and the Buck Rogers rocket?"
"Those were supposed to be candles."
"But we got used to them being cowboy hats and rockets. Kind of made us look forward to our cowboy and Indian men and our Buck Rogers space hats.."
"They were supposed to be candles."
"Not the things that Roscoe uses to celebrate that Jewish day? Not a dray-dell?"
Roscoe, in the meantime, had gone two towns over and found an old silk hat in a pawn shop. (WHO pawns a silk hat?, he thought to himself...and didn't want to know.) By then, Dicky had been fully converted to wanting a magic set over a chemistry set.
Roscoe got the false bottom and the sides rigged for the top hat tricks and whistled some Bing Crosby.
Caroline had got copies of magic act posters that she was going to glue to the box they were putting all the stuff in to make it look store bought.
Dodger had been making some chaps for Dicky to wear out of some tanned deer hide she had been working on since the fall. It was a light brown and tied with bows on the side. She threw in a gun belt at no extra charge.
Roscoe had also snuck in one night when Caroline wasn't looking and stuck the ring that Terry had brought on a carrot stick, and put both back in the refrigerator.
Terry, meanwhile, couldn't figure out where his Mom had gotten her wires crossed.
He found both Chicken and Baby Face, first day.
That was the easy part.
They both lived at the bottom of Silver Mountain.
Both had wives and sold, not BOUGHT art. And Baby Face wasn't grumpy at all.
The art they sold was all original. Both guys did it and signed their own names to it. Copies of the masterpieces EASY to spot.
But good. Real good.
You had Pinky and Blue Boy...only instead of being in TWO pictures that were usually side by side, these guys had them both in one, having a kiss.
Mona Lisa they did a bunch of times. In one, she was laughing. In another, she was scratching her back. A third had her putting a hand to her mouth to cover a yawn or cough.
"Americans LIKE things different.." Baby Face explained to him the day he came to his studio."They get bored seeing the same masters, if such a thing can happen...so I make EXACT copies, but with the masterpieces doing things before or after or slightly unusual..."
Baby Faces' real name was Gaston. His friends name Hans, but even Gaston called him Chicken.
It was Gaston's Last Supper that really got Terry, and it was that painting he was admiring the day his Mom came to town.
The painting was about half the size of a living room wall. It was of the disciples, but at another supper sometime before. A waitress was behind them all, tryng to refill a cup. One disciple was rising from his seat, pointing at a goblet, trying to get her to fill his too. She was turning with that smiling expression all waitresses learn ealy in the career which means the same thing in every language...'hold your horses'.
Two more were looking at her, with one pointing over his shoulder as if to reassure the other he could put in a good word. One (Judas?) was bugged eyed at his bill, mouth open. Two were making fun of him behind his back. More were talking to each other with their chins resting on the back of their hands, some leaning back in their chairs, smiling.
It was the end of a day of hard work. Everyone was happy.
And in the middle, Jesus was still there, but he was staring at the viewer. He had an indulgent smiling look as if to say;"Be kind. They forget God has come down to earth to dwell among them. Just like you do. So let's let them enjoy one of their last good nights together.."
"It's one of your best, Gaston."
Dott Willams had walked in. Nobody had noticed. All three turned to see her."Hi, Terry, I saw the Tintoretto you were talking about. You're right. It's perfect. Missed you, Gas. Hello, Chicken."
After giving his Mom a hug and a kiss, Terry asked what was going on.
"These two are the best forgers France ever made. Chicken did etchings. Usually Goya. Baby Cheeks could fake any Old Master. Really well, too. Mexico City has two that they admit to, and one they don't know about.."
"Three they don't know about.." Baby Cheeks smiled as he corrected her.
"Chicago, has, I think, two of each.."
"One they admit to, two they don't..." Baby Cheeks was still smiling.
"The list keeps going. I only found out about the ones I did because he used some hickory...Tintoretto wouldn't have had it to paint with.."
Baby Cheeks smiled even more."I always wondered how you knew.."
"Then these guys went straight. Government idea. See, they found out the Nazis wanted to loot the masters when the invaded. So they made a deal. Forge paintings and get a pardon. Your record would be erased. They kept their word, and State brought these two over here...Even I didn't know about that..we had tracked the Chicago forgery to France, just before the invasion, and then State tells us he's THEIRS now and all bets were off.."
"Why would the American State Department help hide them here?"
"Baby Cheeks is a Jew, son. He did a LOT of forgeries..and France thought they should keep him SAFE and reformed."
And Terry understood and the room was silent.
"So how did Ben get the copy of Tintaretto?"
"Because some things even I cannot control..."smiled Baby Face.
Last edited by Dudley
on Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:35 am, edited 4 times in total.
Run run Rudolph, Santa's got to make it on time..